This one took the longest to write. I revisited the lyrics many times, trying to figure out what I wanted to say. Like a few other songs, it started as just a silly understatement: How does God feel when his children consider turning away? What would God say?
“Nope. Here’s a better idea…”
Not angry, not indifferent, not forcing anything. Just lovingly inviting the prodigal son home.
The song is an internal monologue, with God interjecting after every verse. But I struggled to fill the verses: Why might the speaker want to wander? Here’s where I landed:
From a certain angle, Christianity can just feel like rules — a bunch of restrictions holding you back from a fun, free life. And what do you even gain by it? The Psalms describe this feeling that “the wicked and foolish always prosper, while a chump like me is stuck with God.” If the tree looks good for food and pleasing to the eye, why shouldn’t I take a bite?
But what if the greatest freedom actually comes from giving up certain freedoms, allowing my free will to be steered by God (who actually knows & wants what’s best for me)? Note: this isn’t the same thing as some religious authority trying to control you or put you in a box — that’s a different issue.
As a card-carrying human, I’m always drawn to the most immediately gratifying choices: whatever’s most convenient, self-serving, instantly satisfying my anger or greed… But sometimes (not always), the fullest life happens when I forgo my shallower instincts and instead seek what God has for me. I need a partner in this messy journey, and God is more than happy to fill that role.
This silly song got deep real fast.
Besides all that, the song also has giant theatrical mood swings, rich instrumentation, a *tight* rhyme scheme, and tons of recurring musical sequences (speed it up and it sounds like Bach!).
Thanks for listening! Please consider buying too, as streaming sites hardly pay artists.
From time to time I’ll wonder why
The Bible always says that I should
Trust in God and not in what I’ve done
Why can’t I try things on my own?
Why can’t I live on bread alone?
What’s wrong with letting me have any fun?
But I can’t wonder any more
‘Cause there’s a roar I can’t ignore inside my heart
And he says:
Nope, that won’t do,
I have much bigger plans for you,
I love you so, that’s what I do
So please just know that I am holding on to you.
Now I abide by all these rules
But why be tied down like a fool?
Balloons like me just want to float away
Don’t I perceive what’s best for me?
So can’t he leave the rest for me?
Does freedom not mean anything these days?
But I truly couldn’t do it
‘Cause I knew that he’d break through inside my heart
‘Cause He says:
Nope, that’s not OK,
I will not let you slip away,
My kingdom needs a guy like you,
So please believe that I like holding on to you
Sometimes I worry and I doubt
And wonder how I’m missing out
I didn’t count on such a narrow road
Faithfulness is such a bore
Could I be tasting so much more
If I should choose to let the whole thing go?
And maybe if I wander
then my Father wouldn’t bother me again
But He says:
Child, please hear my voice,
Although I gave you your own choice,
To be apart won’t set you free
Just search your heart and know you’re better off with me
So I say:
Yep, I guess you’re right
You won’t let go without a fight
I was not made to be alone (you were not made to be alone)
I must not journey on my own (you must not journey on your own)
I can’t ignore a love so true (you can’t ignore a love so true)
So evermore I will be holding on to you
Emma Flowerdew: vocals
Mark: vocals, piano, ukulele, accordion, euphonium, trombone, ocarina, tambourine, programming, mixing
Written by Mark Amadeus Flowerdew. Recorded in Mark’s home in Halifax NS.
Mastered by Don Chapman. Title card by Mark.
Released August 20, 2021.
ISRC: CAREH2100009, ISWC: T3064621116, ©&℗ 2021 Mark Amadeus Flowerdew